Saturday, October 10

Selfless leadership

Scripture: Nehemiah 5-6, Psalm 146, Luke 24

Nehemiah 5:15–16 The former governors, in contrast, had laid heavy burdens on the people, demanding a daily ration of food and wine, besides forty pieces of silver. Even their assistants took advantage of the people. But because I feared God, I did not act that way. 16 I also devoted myself to working on the wall and refused to acquire any land. And I required all my servants to spend time working on the wall.


Nehemiah, unlike the governors before him, cared deeply for the people he led and worked hard to make their lives better.  For his entire 12 year term:

      • He refused to draw on his official food allowance.  This was paid for by laying “heavy burdens on the people,” who were already struggling—so he refused to take it.
      • He refused to “take advantage of the people.”  
      • He “devoted himself to working on the wall,” and required all his servants and officials to do the same.  In other words, he shared in the work and got his hands dirty along with everyone else.  It wasn’t beneath him to roll up his sleeves and work with everyone else.
      • He “refused to acquire any land.”  He could have used his position to enrich himself—that was (and often is) typical.  Instead, he used his position to serve the people. 

He did all this “because he feared God.”  He realized that God had given him a sacred trust of leadership and that it was to be used to serve those he led, not take advantage of them, or to serve himself.  


Nehemiah modeled what Jesus taught about leadership.  The leader serves.  The leader sacrifices.  The leader is there to serve others, not to be served.  (See Mark 10: 35-45). 

I want to make sure that my leadership does that—that I’m serving selflessly as Jesus and Nehemiah did.  My motivation is that I “fear God”—or said another way, my motivation is love, reverence, worship and respect for God, and I care more about what He thinks than anyone else.  That’s the kind of leader I want to be, and the kind of leaders I want to follow.

Prayer: Lord, show me any place where my leadership is self-centered or self-serving, and help me to lead for the sake of others, not myself.